NASHVILLE - The Carolina Hurricanes kick off the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase with a match-up against the Washington Capitals.
The Saturday afternoon tilt, which features a 2 p.m. ET puck drop and will be streamed live on Hurricanes.com, is the first in this three-game round robin for the Canes' top prospects.
"We want to see guys who are competing at a Carolina Hurricanes level," said Charlotte Checkers head coach Ryan Warsofsky, who will be joined by assistant coach Patrick Dwyer behind the bench for this prospects squad. "Let's try to make some plays. Let's be confident. Let guys show off their skill and show what they can do at a high pace."
PROSPECTS SHOWCASE PRIMER | ROSTER (PDF)
Defensively, the Canes' lineup is highlighted by the top pairing of Jake Bean and Chase Priskie. Bean, selected 13th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, was a late addition to the roster, and Priskie, a Hobey Baker finalist, will make his debut with the club after signing as a free agent in late August.
"Both can skate pretty well and get up into the play," Warsofsky said. "They complement each other pretty well."
Janne Kuokkanen, a second-round pick from the 2016 NHL Draft, returns to game action after surgery prematurely ended his season in March. In addition to playing seven games with the Hurricanes last season, Kuokkanen totaled 38 points (12g, 26a) in 48 games with Charlotte.
"He's probably going to be a little rusty, but he looked really good in practice. He feels good," Warsofsky said. "He's a guy who should be confident. He's been in these tournaments before. He's playing with another Finn in Luostarinen, and hopefully he gets some chemistry going right off the hop."
Eetu Luostarinen, who signed his three-year, entry-level deal with the Canes in May, centers the first line with Kuokkanen on his left and Blake Murray, a 2019 draftee, on his right.
"Hopefully they can play with some pace, a lot of speed. Let's get going. We're not going to sit back," Warsofksy said. "It's a different style for Luostarinen, a little bit of a smaller rink. He's got to get used to that and the pace of the game, but he obviously has some skill and high hockey IQ. He's a guy I'm interested to see."
Ryan Suzuki, the Canes' 28th overall pick from the 2019 NHL Draft, centers Jamieson Rees, a fellow 2019 draftee, and showcase invite Martin Lang on the second line.
Video: LIVE: Capitals vs.Hurricanes